SBJ/February 23 - 29, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Finding the looks that thrill

The following is a sampling of NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL teams that have tweaked or overhauled logos and uniforms during the last five years.

Baltimore Ravens

Change: 1999

Overview: The Ravens revised their primary logo, settling on a profile head of an attacking raven. Red was added to the eyes to give the bird a more menacing look, and a "B" was incorporated into the design to play up the home city. The search for a new logo began when a federal jury ruled that the team's primary logo had been copied from the work of an amateur Baltimore artist.

Milwaukee Brewers

Change: 1999

Overview: The Brewers were counting down to the 2001 opening of Miller Park but couldn't wait until then to update their logo and uniforms. The logo features blue, gold and a new "reddish brown." Uniforms feature a cursive script and a barley sprig. "Milwaukee" no longer appears on the front of uniforms, only "Brewers." The team ranked near the bottom of MLB merchandise sales, so it was looking for a spark.

New York Giants

Change: 2000

Overview: The Giants unveiled uniforms featuring retailored jerseys that are a deeper shade of blue, slick gray pants and helmets with the old "ny" logo. Road numbers are red instead of blue. Team executives said the change had nothing to do with trying to increase profits. Instead, they had been considering the changes since 1994, the year the Giants wore throwback uniforms.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Change: 2001

Overview: The Devil Rays wanted a more traditional look, so the team changed its uniform style and color scheme, and shortened its name on uniforms to just "Rays." The team also tossed the logo that featured a multicolor scheme and purple trim. Team officials said the new uniforms "look sharp," with green piping on the front and sleeves and a black logo of a ray on the left sleeve. The alternate jersey is a white, sleeveless vest.

Detroit Pistons

Change: 2001

Overview: Older was better for the Pistons, who changed the team's colors back to their original red, white and blue in time for the 2001-02 season. The primary horse and basketball logo received the color update and the team placed more emphasis on an updated "Pistons" word mark. The color change replaced the teal, black, yellow and red that were introduced prior to the 1996-97 season. Said one team executive, "I was never a fan of the teal."

Dallas Mavericks

Change: 2001

Overview: The Mavericks said they would play on the road the next season in navy blue tops with "Dallas" on the front, a small star on the back and a horse's head on each side of the shorts. Home uniforms would be white, with "Dallas" on the front rather than "Mavericks." The redesign was incorporated into merchandise ranging from hockey sweaters and bowling shirts to tank tops and pajama bottoms. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the new uniforms emphasize fashion rather than big logos and the team name.

Cleveland Indians

Change: 2002

Overview: The Indians introduced new uniforms that include silver-trimmed jersey logos and a new home vest reminiscent of the 1960s. A new navy cap uses the letter "I" instead of the team's usual Chief Wahoo. Team officials were quick to say they weren't trying to phase out the chief. Instead the move was intended for fans who want to wear an authentic hat that doesn't feature the chief. It was the first change in the team's uniform style since 1994.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Change: 2003

Overview: Uniforms introduced for the new season feature a crimson-hued wine color and a metallic gold, the club's original colors from 1970 to 1983. Dark blue is used as an accent color on the new logo and uniforms, in recognition of the Cavs team of the 1990s. The team received 12,000 responses in an online survey to choose from six color combinations. The team re-emphasized the full Cavaliers nickname instead of Cavs.

Calgary Flames

Change: 2003

Overview: For a new home jersey, the Flames returned red as the primary color and added a new black flaming "C" on the chest. The NHL allowed teams this season to wear dark colors for home games. The new jersey replaced the black jersey, which became the alternate uniform to be worn six to eight times this season.

Houston Rockets

Change: 2003

Overview: The Rockets turned to Eiko Ishioka, who won the 1993 Academy Award for costume design for "Dracula," to design a new logo. The result was a twin-tailed "R" that's blasting off. The logo was the first step in a redesign that culminated in September with the debut of red and silver uniforms. Team executives said they wanted something that people would feel good wearing and something that would look good on television.

Toronto Blue Jays

Change: 2003

Overview: The Blue Jays introduced a logo that features a newly styled blue jay extending to the left from three-dimensional, metallic silver "Jays" lettering. "The old logo from our research was tired and outdated," said Paul Godfrey, Blue Jays CEO. "We've had this logo under consideration for two years." He brushed aside the suggestion that the redesign was driven by merchandise sales. "This is not a big cash grab because merchandise, of all the revenue a club gets, is almost near the bottom, if not at the bottom."

Source: The Sports Business Daily

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